the real life Polar Express.

I kept my kids home from school all last week. All of them. Because there was a puke bug going around our house and we could not afford to be sick over the weekend, no siree.

They all took turns throwing up, and then Joey woke up with a pink eye {heavens to betsy}. So they stayed home. All week long.

Friday came...no pukes...no pink eyes...halelujah. We drove the kids to Bryson City, NC to ride a real live Polar Express.

First we stopped in Dillsboro, NC for their lighting festivities downtown. It was still light out when we got there and we didn't see any sign of such festivities. Just an old, tiny street. I told Conan he'd been HAD, there's nothing in Dillsboro; so we drove to Sylva and ate pizza. After we ate we drove to Bryson City to catch our train and passed back through Dillsboro again. This time in the dark.

Oh. My. Goodness. Christmas heaven. Every building was in lights, there were luminaries lining the streets, a line at the tiny Town Hall to get pictures with Santa, the sound of kids singing carols in the distance. I squealed.

We found the carolers in front of the Chocolate Factory, along with a crowd of proud parents with little boys playing football in the luminary filled street. Every cute little shop had treats or hot chocolate in front for you to enjoy. And the lights were beautiful.


We found the best Christmas Shop ever and let each of the kids pick out an ornament. Kacie picked a pink doughnut, Joey a green robot, Andy a sparkly green pinecone, Jake a skateboarder, and Dani picked a very cool retro looking red reindeer; excellent choice.


Then we were off to wait in the cold for the Polar Express...


Dad passing out the precious golden tickets:




When it finally came we all piled on, took in our surroundings...


and then took our cold clothes off:


Then of course came the HOT CHOC-O-LAT:

The Conducter came to punch our tickets
just as they turned off all the lights so we could see
the North Pole out our windows:

{Joey was a little disappointed the conducter didn't do a speedy punch with a fancy word in his ticket. He said emphatically, "Dad, my ticket doesn't say nothing."}

After showing us where Santa and Frosty live,
where they make the hot chocolate,
and where the elves go to church,
Santa came on board to greet each of the kids
and give them a Christmas bell:

Kacie watched him very closely, and after planting herself firmly
in the farthest seat from the man, she said "Mom, I don't want that snowman."
Once I explained she could ask him for a Barbie for Christmas,
she smiled and warmed up to the red suit.



All in all, it was fantastic.
However, I think Conan and I hyped it up so much like it was the real Polar Express that the boys were a little disappointed. Jake asked when we were going down Glacier Gulch. He was shocked the train only went in a straight line back and forth. Andy was not just disappointed, but a little mad we didn't actually go to the North Pole. He told me later "Mom, I hope you know that wasn't the real North Pole at all. I just wanted you to know because you believe easy stuff.
But I know it wasn't, because it wasn't even icy."
You can't compete with movies. Real life just isn't as exciting.
But at least it's still magical.


Jessi said...

I LOVE Dillsboro (it just screams "history" to me) and the Christmas shop is my favorite. But I haven't ever been there during Christmas! Maybe we need to take a little road trip.

ShEiLa said...

I think this would be lots of fun. They have a Polar Express ride on the steam train in Ely... I want to do that one some day. I have taken the ride in the summer but I imagine it to be totally different in the snow with hot chocolate.


AndyPandyJackaDandy said...

That sounds awesome! We have a Polar Express here (aka The Heber Creeper),but I have yet to convince Chris that the ticket price is worth taking our kids out past their bedtime. :) But who cares about the kids?! I would have loved the luminaries just like you!

Lori said...

GREAT photos.
I'm still laughing over "Mom, I don't want that snowman."

Unknown said...

Wow. How is it that I live in NC and have never even heard of this place! Looks like you guys had fun!

andrea said...

What a fun idea! I love that!

miranda said...

I love your pictures! What a fun time, your kids are adorable too!

Wonder Woman said...

This. Is. So. Cool.

Come read what I posted today. It's about the Polar Express.

Alice Faye said...

We did that with the girls a couple of years ago. They loved it (I think.) We are going to try and re-inact it in our back yard if the weather is good.

mandi said...

what fun!

that snowy, christmas village...oh north carolina- how i love thee!

ps- love the quote about you believing easy stuff. that kid cracks me up!

Emma said...

Good job the kids will always think about it and laugh!